Monroe County coronavirus case count at 89

Pictured, Waterloo city workers replace banners promoting local businesses with special tributes to graduating seniors from Waterloo and Gibault Catholic high schools. The banners were installed last week along Market Street as a way to honor the Class of 2020, which has missed out on many moments with classmates due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The coronavirus continued its slow spread through Monroe County in recent days. 

The county now has 89 confirmed cases of the virus, while the death toll remains at 11. Three new positive tests were reported by the Monroe County Health Department on Friday, all three from the same household. The latest case on Sunday involved a resident who had contact with a known positive.

Three new cases earlier this past week were at Garden Place Senior Living, 480 DD Road in Columbia, bringing the total number of Monroe County cases associated with that facility to 30.

There have also been 10 Monroe County deaths at that facility, with an 11th death attributed to another county.

Oak Hill Senior Living and Rehabilitation in Waterloo has not seen an increase in cases since a third staff member tested positive early last week.

Another high-profile case in the past week occurred at Burger King in Waterloo. 

The fast food restaurant, located at 800 N. Market Street, remains closed for cleaning. 

“We believe that the risk of transmission to the  public is low at this time, as the employees were using appropriate personal protective equipment during drive-thru operations and food preparations,” the health department said on Facebook. “Our department is closely monitoring the situation, and the facility and staff have been very cooperative.” 

Burger King did not return requests for comment. 

A final location that has drawn public attention regarding COVID-19 is the Monroe County Jail. 

Monroe County Sheriff Neal Rohlfing confirmed there have been cases at the jail. 

“We have had a few limited cases of COVID-19 in the jail which were both inmates and corrections officers,” Rohlfing said. “Most of the individuals that have tested positive have been asymptomatic and were not affected very much.”

Rohlfing also said the jail has taken precautions for its inmates and corrections officers, like wearing masks, checking inmate temperatures twice a day and quarantining anyone who experiences symptoms. 

Pictured is the latest data as of May 12 showing
several of the key metrics that are being monitored
to determine when the southern region can move
to the third phase of Gov. JB Pritzker’s “Restore
Illinois” plan for reopening. 

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, there are 40 confirmed cases of the virus in the Columbia zip code (135 tests performed), 44 in the Waterloo zip code (206 tests performed) and seven in the Valmeyer zip code (18 tests performed). The total amount of tests performed on Monroe County residents through private labs and in Missouri, however is not completely known.

Countywide, 33 people have recovered from the virus and are released from quarantine in Monroe County, Monroe County Health Department Administrator John Wagner said. Eight people are hospitalized with COVID-19. Wagner added that since the start of the pandemic, approximately 335 Monroe County residents have been under 14-day voluntary quarantine due to coming into close contact with a known positive case.

In nearby St. Clair County, there are 905 confirmed cases, including 69 coronavirus-related deaths. A total of 5,070 people have been tested in that county. 

To the south, Randolph County now has 245 confirmed cases, 53 of which are active. Three people have died from the virus, 189 have recovered and four are hospitalized with it in that county.

Across the southern region in Gov. JB Pritzker’s plan to reopen the state, called “Restore Illinois,” all numbers are trending for the region to move to the next phase at the end of the month. The same is true for every other reason in the state.

The southern region, which includes every county south of Bond, has seen an 6.1 percent positivity rate, 5.2 percent decrease in positivity rate and 63.7 percent decrease in hospital admission with COVID-19-like symptoms since May 1. 

The region also has 46.6 percent medical and surgical bed availability, 35.4 percent ICU bed availability and 79.3 percent ventilator availability. 

The Illinois Department of Public Health has not released regional information regarding testing, but its website states those with symptoms or those who have a risk factor, work in a health care facility or correctional  facility, serve as first responders or support critical infrastructure can be tested at any of the state’s testing sites. 

That includes the 10 sites in this region.

There is also no information available about contact tracing, which a region must be able to begin within 24 hours of diagnosis to move to the next phase.   

Statewide, there are 98,030 cases of coronavirus and 4,379 deaths, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The IDPH reported 1,545 additional cases and 146 additional deaths on Tuesday. It announced 2,294 new cases and 59 new deaths on Monday. It announced 1,734 more cases and 51 more deaths on Sunday. It announced 2,088 new cases and 74 new deaths on Saturday. It announced 2,432 additional cases and 130 additional deaths on Friday. It announced 3,239 more cases and 138 more deaths on Thursday. It announced 1,677 new cases and 192 new deaths, the highest single-day death toll, on Wednesday.

The rise in cases comes with an increase in the amount of tests performed in Illinois, as the state is conducting over 20,000 tests a day now.

It tested over 29,000 people last Tuesday, the same day 4,014 new cases were reported. 

Experts are now predicting the virus will now peak later and lower in Illinois, with it set to peak between mid-May and mid-June.  

In Missouri, there were 11,080 confirmed cases and 616 deaths as of Tuesday. That includes 4,182 cases in St. Louis County and 1,607 cases in St. Louis City, according to the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services.

Nationally, more than 1,527,557 people had contracted the virus as of Tuesday afternoon, while 91,153 people have died from it.

The pandemic has now spread to at least 177 countries, with over 4.8 million cases and at least 319,832 deaths worldwide.

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James Moss

James is an alumni of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville where he graduated summa cum laude with degrees in mass communications and applied communications studies. While in school, he interned at two newspapers and worked at a local grocery store to pay for his education. When not working for the Republic-Times, he enjoys watching movies, reading, playing video games and spending time with his friends.
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